SEO – The Basics | What Is It? How Do I Ace It?

If you didn’t know. My day job is in marketing. I did 2 years at a really small live events marketing agency where you own the entire campaign from setting Facebook and Google ads live to booking outdoor… to the most useful for this post, briefing in websites. And now I work for an old client (& now boss) where I pretty much do the same thing.

When I started there people kept mentioning a lot of acronyms and terms I didn’t recognise like API, programmatic, 4 sheets and the pesky SEO. When I was still learning the ropes of how to run a marketing campaign, I tried reading online resources to find out what the hell SEO meant, and it’s confusing. They’re all really jargony! We were lucky to have someone come in and teach us the SEO basics in real English. Now I’m not claiming to be an expert (although reading the last 2 paragraphs it’s feels like I was), but I feel as though I have a pretty good understanding and I thought I’d share my findings with you in a real, plain English (as far as I can) understandable way!

Now before I get going it’s worth noting a lot of my traffic comes from Google, it’s my main referral, and I use WordPress to host my site, so some of the tips are focused to the block editor settings. However, I suspect Blogger and other hostings use similar things!

So let’s get cracking…

What is SEO?

I mean it stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Which let’s face it. Is just three words I’ve put together that don’t really mean anything. It effectively is the process a search engine (usually Google) searches through your site to find key words and put it in a ranking. The higher the ranking, the higher up the page you are when someone searches that search term. Hope that makes sense. Though realistically you don’t necessarily need to understand it, just know how to ace it!

Key Words

Before I go through all the places you need to add in tags or words or anything, you need to know your key words! These are the things people would or could Google to find content on your site/content. E.g ‘Eyeshadow Palette’ ‘Maybelline Foundation’ or ‘ASOS Wishlist’ you name it!

I hate thinking of key words, the ones you think of seem to obvious and then you try to get creative and they sound odd. So here’s my two tips to work out what your key words actually are!

  • Google Search Console | Google has a million things from Google Analytics to Google Trends to Google Ads Manager. And some of them are really helpful, some of them are only really for businesses and some of them are gems! And Google Search Console is a real gem. And I feel like no one talks about it.

    To set it up you need to create a Google Account (you’ll probs have one for YouTube), then go to Google Search Console website and create an account. This will create a piece of code that you will need to add to your website. I use the plug in ‘Header and Footer’ to add all of my coding (or tags or pixels as they’re referred to in the biz) and it’s really easy! TIP: if you want to find this plug in, go to the plug in section on WordPress, download it, and then it’s all pretty straight forward.

    Once you’re set up, this will be your favourite thing! If you go to the performance tab (as I have in the picture below) you can see all the search terms people have used to get to your site. Not only this, but the Impressions (i.e how many people will have seen your site while Googling that), how many people clicked on your site from that search term, and as you click on each search term it tells you your average ranking. Like wth why does no one talk about this?!
  • Wordstream Free Keyword Tool | This is a newer find and clearly not a Google product. But it’s really handy (I also use it a lot fo help my guide my #’s by the way… but that’s a whole other topic) and ridiculously easy to use as there’s no need for an account or coding or anything. It effectively reads your site as Google would. Just head to the Wordstream Free Keyword Tool website, put in your URL and it shoots out a load of key words it thinks you should be using.

    This isn’t necessarily what people are searching, but it still gives you a good idea of search volume, competition and just generally it’s good to check your website is on track. Also, it’s a public thing, so you can search any website.

How to optimise my site for SEO?

Now you know what terms you should be using… here’s where you can add them!

So the first thing to know, is that Google can’t read text on images. Not sure why. It just can’t. So it’s always best to use real, actual text for your blog post or website (.e.g the paragraph block on WordPress). We had a few clients build their entire websites with JPEGs and no text and Google just couldn’t read anything! So here’s my suggestions (you don’t need to do all of these to get it right, but a good handful of them will get you in the right place):

  1. Include your key term in the Title somewhere. Whether you go down the clickbait angle or not, include ‘Eyeshadow’ in there if you’re talking about Eyeshadows or ‘Mac Studio Fix’ is you’re talking about Mac Studio Fix… you get the idea
  2. You know the tabs on your internet (as in Google Chrome or Safari or whatever you use) where it’ll say ‘Facebook’ or the title of a website you’re looking at. Your tap name should match the title. WordPress has this function already built in. But if you’re using a Wix equivalent, it might just be worth checking.
  3. The URL includes the key term. On WordPress if you go to the ‘Document’ section on the right hand side of the block editor there’s a section called ‘Permalink’ and in there you can change the ‘URL slug’ (i.e. the bit of the URL you can change). This should match the title already, but if you’ve changed the title a few times, worth checking.
  4. Use H1 or H2 text boxes and include key words or products you’re mentioning. On WordPress make a text box, write what you want your subheading to be (e.g. ‘How to optimise my site for SEO’) and change the text box from paragraph to heading (this makes it a H tag). Headings are tiered with H1 being the top Heading (after your blog title) and H2, H3, H4, H5 so on following that. I tend to only use H1 or H2 tags to be honest, but this is something I’ve really started using recently (I used to be terrible at this). Google will read these before it starts reading your paragraphs, so it’s really handy to use these.
  5. Long form content works best. Not only are you more likely to include all the search terms organically without feeling forced and use them multiple times. But there’s something about a wordy post that Google just likes.
  6. Use Alt Texts. I actually don’t know what Alt Texts really means, but basically this is you giving an image some text that Google can read. On WordPress, when you include an image, click on it, and it brings up the ‘block’ settings. Included in ‘Image settings’ bit is a place to include your Alt Text. Make this short and snappy and describe what the image is and its link to the post.
  7. Make internal links. This isn’t always possible, but if there’s a way to link back to old posts without feeling forced. I recommend you do it! It just weirdly gives you site a form of legitimacy.
  8. Make your site load fast. This is something I really need to work on and when I have a free day I need to sort out. My images are large and they take time to load. But the faster your site loads, the better Google likes it. Simple.

They’re my top tips. There’s a million other things you can do, especially if you’re into coding, but I’m just not comfortable telling you how to do them because…. I don’t! This is not a quick fix. While doing things like Pinterest and social will see very quick results, this is a slightly painful one and your changes will take time to flush though. But it will make a difference!

But I think that’s it! SEO the basics

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions? Or if there’s any other topics you want me to go through!

Katie x

11 thoughts on “SEO – The Basics | What Is It? How Do I Ace It?

  1. I’m an SEO Strategist so I write a lot of blogger guides to SEO https://beautysirenblog.com/category/seo/ it always makes me feel kind of proud when other bloggers talk about it like even if I don’t think it’s 100% accurate or how I would phrase something, it just makes me happy to see people trying to share their knowledge 😄 also search console is my favourite thing, I think people just don’t know about it? I might post a guide to using it.

  2. Installing Yoast SEO on WordPress was real helpful for me. I’m still not 100% at using it, but I’ve seen a slow increase in traffic from Google which is great! I still get confused about key words so this post was useful, thanks!

  3. I have a small business and i was looking for the best suit for myself, and eventually, I landed up here. I must say amazing blogs, full of information. Thank you, keep posting.

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